Illinois sub sandwich shop reopens in former Springfield site after 4-year hiatus

Natalie Morris
Correspondent
Larry Webb, franchise owner of the Firehouse Subs shop in Springfield, and district manager Mary Fleck stand in front of the restaurant's custom mural of a Springfield firetruck.

The “10-12 Welcome to Firehouse” greeting is again ringing out at 4151 Wabash Ave.

Firehouse Subs has returned to Springfield’s west side after a four-year hiatus from the market and with it the customary greeting to all guests. A 10-12 in police radio parlance signals visitors are present.

“It’s not a gimmick,” franchise operator Larry Webb said. “It’s a genuine welcome. It alerts everyone we have guests. Heads up. Be engaged. Welcome to Firehouse.”

The Springfield store is Webb’s third Firehouse Subs location. He also owns outlets in Quincy and St. Charles, Missouri.

But the Jacksonville, Florida-based chain – known for its steamed meats and cheeses on toasted submarine rolls – is no newcomer to the Springfield market.

A Firehouse Subs operated from the very same Wabash Avenue address from 2012 to 2018 under the ownership of brothers Tom and Danny Pearce.

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“In the first couple days we had a lot of people expressing to us they missed Firehouse,” said Webb, an Army veteran. “Just expressing their appreciation for the restaurant reopening. Talking about their former experiences.”

The Springfield reopening makes 15 Firehouse Subs now operating throughout Illinois with the closest being in the Bloomington and Peoria markets.

The top seller nationwide is the Hook & Ladder – a turkey, Virginia ham and Monterey-Jack cheese sandwich fully involved. That’s Firehouse Subs vernacular for the works, which denotes mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion topping the sandwich with a Kosher dill pickle on the side.

Other menu selections include chili, soup, salads and cookies.

Operating hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Phone: 217-679-6319.

The restaurant touts one of the chain’s signature wall murals – customized for the Springfield market with the face of Abraham Lincoln looking down on a Springfield Fire Rescue Engine.

Firehouse Subs – founded by former firefighter brothers Chris and Robin Sorensen – also is known for its support of local first responder organizations.

A percentage of all sales goes to the brand's own not-for-profit, which supports first responders and public safety organizations. The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given $71 million nationally since it was founded in 2005. Of that, $2 million has been awarded in Illinois, including grants to police and fire districts in Chatham, Pleasant Plains and Ashland.

Natalie Morris can be reached at 737-7254 or by email at natalie.sjr@gmail.com.